“In every human endeavor, there is a chance for abuse,” said Elizabeth Bartholet, director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.
It is often a topic of concern and discussion as to whether or not human trafficking is, in some part, related to foster children. Through research and study, it can be seen that there is a high number of young children, kidnapped or adopted, that are taken and sold for abusive purposes.
It is not known for certain who is guilty of this crime, and who is involved. But in most cases, the motivation is monetary value.
“It’s out there. They’re exploited for child labor, for sex, you name it.” – Peter Gleason, lawyer and former NYPD police officer.
Child trafficking is most often seen in foreign countries, and it’s not just for slavery. InSight Crime reported in 2013 that in Guatemala, “illegal adoptions continue to flourish despite regulations,” and that “the majority of stolen babies are sold for irregular adoptions or for their organs.”
In India, children up for adoption have been referred to as “manufactured orphans.” India’s Firstpost news outlet reported that in 2016, a “kidnap-for-adoption” racket was uncovered in Kolkata, where an adoption agency was found guilty of stealing infants from “impoverished unwed mothers, rape survivors, and marginalized families.” Many of these situations are by force or monetary compensation. In third world countries or those with high crime rates, this is more likely because as the saying goes, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Without aid for these mothers, this is unfortunately not uncommon.
Firstpost also mentions, “In many cases, healthy babies were substituted with stillborns and the mothers were told their babies had died. Sometimes, poor parents were made to sign documents which they did not comprehend. They thought they were admitting their children to a free residential school but actually ended up giving up all rights over them.”
Human trafficking also takes advantage of natural disasters. Australia’s ABC News reports, “We have documented around 15 cases of children disappearing from hospitals and not with their own family at the time,” said UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand. “UNICEF has been working in Haiti for many years, and we knew the problem with the trade of children in Haiti that existed already beforehand. “Unfortunately, many of these trade networks have links with the international adoption market.”
This is a concern of highest priority for those involved in foster care and adoption, and every precaution should be taken to ensure the safety of the child. The best way to go about avoiding this destructive situation is to go through a trusted adoption agency. Do your research to make sure they are accredited, and that it is an ethical adoption. Educate yourself on how to see warning signs or how to know which agency would be best for your family.